NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Fresh Scottish hope over mackerel quota wrangle

Mackerel
Image caption Quotas set by Iceland and the Faroes angered other fishing nations

Scottish fishing leaders have said they hope a fresh round of talks can resolve the long-running wrangle over mackerel quotas.

The dispute, after Iceland and the Faroes increased their own quotas, has caused anger and concern within the industry for many months.

Three days of talks are set to get under way in Oslo.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association, said the talks were vital.

He said: "We hope that after a period of reflection that Icelandic and Faroese representatives at the talks will recognise the need to strike a deal, which is essential given that the stock is still in good health.

"It is vital for the future of the Scottish mackerel sector that there is restoration of sensible and responsible mackerel management arrangements in the north east Atlantic so as to secure the long-term sustainable future of the stock."

In January, the European Union signalled an intention to block landings of mackerel from Icelandic boats, after the country announced it was setting a 2011 quota of 146,818 tonnes, up from 130,000 in 2010.

Mackerel is the Scottish fleet's most valuable stock.

However, Iceland and the Faroes argue that the mackerel stock has gravitated north in recent years.

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